News & Press Releases
For Immediate Release

Story Photo
Friday, May 4th, 2007
Blackman's "Ventures & Observations" Exhibition and Guatemala Exhibition in Garden Gallery
  April 26, 2007



ROCKPORT, TX --  The Rockport Center for the Arts will be hosting a solo exhibition featuring all new works by Shirley Blackman from  May 16 – June 9.  Additionally, the Center’s Garden Gallery will offer a watercolor travel log of Guatemala, courtesy of 12 artists who spent 10 days touring and painting the beautiful villages and countryside earlier this year.  A special reception for the exhibitions will be held on Saturday, May 19th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m at the Art Center, which is located at 902 Navigation Circle.  Prior to the reception, the artists will offer gallery talks, which will allow visitors to ask questions and learn more about the artists’ work and process.  The exhibitions and reception are free to the public.

Entitled “Ventures & Observations,” Blackman’s exhibition features acrylic on canvas or multi-media on paper. 

The “Ventures” portion of her show focuses on lines, texture and colors with no subject matter in mind.  Whereas the “Observations” reflects candid drawings based on personal experiences that have been converted to paintings.

“As a lifelong artist, my work has gone through much evolution, yet much as stayed constant,” Blackman noted. 

“My personal background, life experiences, study of art and art history and untold hours of painting and experimenting with different mediums have all contributed to my growth as an artist.

“Now I wish to express my love for nature and the inner beauty of individuals. 

And, through line and color, transmit my feelings to the viewer,” she added. Blackman is an accomplished artist in many fields, although drawing remains her main passion.  Her entire life has been dedicated to the spirit of creating art and her current abstractions represent an adventure in doing something different. 


Rockport Center for the Arts Dual Exhibitions – Page 2

As the Miss New Mexico representative in the 1949 Miss America Pageant, Blackman won the National Talent Award. 

She was the first contestant to ever enter the “talent” part of the competition with visual art.  Subsequently, she won a scholarship from the Miss America contest which enabled her to obtain an art degree from Baylor University and study painting in Paris under the tutelage of Reynold Arnould, a renowned painter who later became director of the National Grande Palais.

Blackman’s work has been featured in galleries and solo exhibitions including the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Seton Hall University, the 25th International Exhibition of the Watercolor Art Society, the Jacques Steineau Gallery of Shreveport and 30 American Painters Exhibition in France’s Hotel de Ville. 

Her pieces have been collected by many notable individuals and organizations including the Meadows Museum of Centenary College, Metropolitan Savings and Loan Company and His Excellency, the Ambassador of El Salvador Roberts Quinonez Mesa.

In 1974, Blackman was named one of the 20th Century Women in Texas by the Laguna Gloria Museum in Austin. 

Additionally, she has received numerous awards and recognition of her work including first place in the Associated Creative Artists Annual Award Show and the Annual International Art Show. 

She and her husband own and operate the Austin Street Gallery in downtown Rockport. 

The gallery allows them to not only showcase Shirley’s diverse talent (drawing, sculpture, and acrylic and oil painting), but to also introduce artist friends that have never before been represented in South Texas. The watercolor exhibition in the Garden Gallery will showcase the works of 11 individuals who accompanied local artist Carol Koutnik on an 11-day tour of Guatemala in January.  “Guatemala is a visual inspiration.  The landscape, villages and clothing literally explode with color,” she noted.  “And, the people are so beautiful and interesting.”


Rockport Center for the Arts Dual Exhibitions – Page 3

Koutnik, who had visited Guatemala the previous year, served as both travel and art guide for the participants, who included Evelyn Atkinson, Melanie Brown, Terence Fowler, Jean Gamboe, Carita Gould, Margi Hawks, Ray Neuberger, Marki Rowe, Pam Stanley, Bob Travis and Nancy Vandenberg. 

All pieces are plein air, i.e. painted on location, and include individual representations of volcanic lakes, botanical gardens, villages, churches, native art and the populace.  A non-profit organization, the Rockport Center for the Arts is dedicated to providing an environment that nurtures the expression and appreciation of art for residents and tourists alike. For more information on the exhibits and other Center programs, please call 361-729-5519 or visit